Wheel-reinvention with Python

Mike Meyer mwm at mired.org
Sun Jul 31 20:52:58 CEST 2005

Torsten Bronger <bronger at physik.rwth-aachen.de> writes:
> Hallöchen!
> Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org> writes:
>> Torsten Bronger <bronger at physik.rwth-aachen.de> writes:
>>> Calvin Spealman <ironfroggy at gmail.com> writes:
>>>> The choice is GUI toolkits is largely seperate from
>>>> Python. Consider that they are just bindings to libraries that
>>>> are developed completely seperate of the language. GUI is should
>>>> be seperate from the language, and thus not bound to same
>>>> expectations and desires as elements of the language itself.
>>> I disagree.  A modern language must provide a convenient and
>>> well-embedded way to write GUI applications.
>> The tools for writing GUI applications belong in a library, not
>> the langauge.
> None of us has talked about changing syntax.  However, the standard
> library is part of the language unless you're really very petty.

Or you use different Python implementations. There are four different
Python implementations in the world. Not everything in the CPYthon
standard library runs in all of them. Or are you going to claim that
someone usin Jython isn't using Python because they can't use the full
standard library? If they're using python, then the parts of the
standard library they can't use aren't part of the language. Which
calls into question everything in the standard library.

>>> This is not a sign of decadence, but a very good promotional
>>> argument.
>> But it's not required for the language to succeed.
> Today it is (except for very special-purpose languages).

To put this differently, it's required if you want to succeed as a
language for the specific purpose of creating GUI applications. I'd
agree to that. But there are *lots* of other application areas around,
so limiting your definition of "success" to that one field is very

>> C and C++ are both doing very well without your a well-embedded
>> way to write GUI applications.
> I don't think that much money is made with new C programs.  Almost
> all money with C++ is made with VC which has been having a GUI
> toolkit in its standard library right from the beginning.  And most
> money is made with VB AFAIK.

Your definition of success is clearly different than mine. You
restrict your definition of success to proprietary applications -
which I almost never use. If I were using a definition as stilted as
yours, I'd say that success was measured by the number of lines of
source code in that language that were freely available.  By which
measure C is still immensely popular, because of the large number of
older applications that are written in it that are available - Python
being one such. On the other hand, I do recognize that proprietary
applications exist. The only real measure of the success of a language
is how many applications are being written in it - and that measure
will change depending on the application area in question. I'd say
Python has succeeded as a web development language, and as a systems
scripting language - and I've certainly missed some. Now that it's
available for the S60 series phone (I'm going to get one, I swear),
I'd say it's set to succeed as a development language for portable
devices. None of these are what you call "specific-purpose" areas,
just application development areas that don't need a GUI.

By restricting yourself to projects that make money, you're also
limiting the apparent success of VB. From what I can tell, most
applications written in VB are in-house tools of various kinds. That
makes it even more successful than your measure would lead you to

C++ succeeded on platforms that VC doesn't run on, so you can hardly
claim that VC was responsible for C++'s success.

Since you brought up the off-topic point of VB, I'd say that the
*most* money is made with SQL. That's based on far to many years of
watching the want ads. Almost all of them require some language other
than SQL, and a lot of those are indeed VB.

>> However, you can get compilers for both that come bundled with a
>> good GUI library. Could it be that that's what you really want -
>> someone to distribute Python bundled with an enterprise-class GUI
>> library and IDE?
> Well, a nice thing to have, but besides my point.

Then you seem to have missed some of your own points. C++ succeeded
without having a standard GUI library. You claimed that that success
was because of a single distribution that included the things you are
looking for. Why can't the same thing work for Python?

> We do have a standard library with a robust GUI package, and a
> standard distribution with a so-called IDE.  What I really want is a
> better GUI included into the standard library.

I think you're the first person I've heard call IDLE an IDE. Then
again, I don't pay much attention to it. Or maybe you meant something

Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org>			http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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